Weary Maid (The)

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WEARY MAID, THE (An Cailin Tuirseac). AKA and see “Buain na Rainich," "Cutting Ferns.” Irish, Air (4/4 time) or March. A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Martin Burns finds “The Weary Maid” in pipe repertoire, likely derived from a Gaelic air called “Tha mi sgith.” Indeed, the tune appears in Jane Morison’s Highland Airs and Quicksteps, vol. 1 (1882), in the march section under the title “Tha mi sgith” (translated as “I am weary”). The tune also appears in bluegrass repertoire as “Misty Morn” and was adapted by the Iona Community as a hymn entitled “Dance and Sing.” Another song (performed as both a fast tune and a lullaby) which employs the melody is “Buain na Rainich” (Cutting/Reaping the Bracken), which tells the story of a fairy who fell in love with a human woman. The two met regularly in the forest while she was gathering bracken for the hearth. Hearing of the affair, her father and brothers disapproved and locked the woman up to prevent her trysting, but the fairy kept going to the wood, singing. See also Scots tunes with similarities: “Cutting Ferns” and “Drummond Castle.” “Buain na Rainich” can also be sung to “Ca' the Yowes to the Knowes/Ca the Ewes to the Knows.” Words to the tune go:

Tha mi sgith, 's mi leam fhin
Buain na rainich, buain na rainich;
Tha mi sgith, 's mi leam fhin
Buain na rainich daonnan.

Cul an tomain, braigh an tomain,
Cul an tomain bhoidhich;
Cul an tomain, braigh an tomain,
H-uile latha 'm onar.

'S tric a bha mi fhin 's mo leannan
Anns a' ghleannan cheothar,
'G eisdeachd coisir bhinn an doire
Seinn 'sa choille dhomhail.

Anns an t-sithean, O gur sgith mi,
'S tric mo chridh' 'ga leonadh;
Nuair bhios cach a' seinn nan luinneag,
Cha dean mis' ach cronan.

Ciod am feum dhomh bhi ri tuireadh,
De ni tuireadh dhomhsa,
'S mi cho fada o gach duine
B'urrain tighinn g'am chomhnadh

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 348, p. 60.

Recorded sources:

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